Rice likes P.A. Gaza border plan


Condoleezza Rice said a plan for Palestinian moderates to assume control of the Gaza Strip crossings was worth considering.

“I’m hopeful that perhaps people can look at different ways of dealing with Gaza,” the U.S. secretary of state said Tuesday, referring to Israel’s cutting off of the strip in an attempt to get radicals to stop firing missiles into Israel.

Rice raised an idea proposed weeks ago by the Palestinian Authority prime minister, Salam Fayyad, and under consideration by the Quartet, the grouping of United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union that guides the Middle East peace process.

Fayad’s suggestion that the Palestinian Authority perhaps have more of a role on the crossings “might be something that could be examined,” said Rice, who was on her way to Germany to meet counterparts on how to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “And I think people need to start to try to think creatively about how to deal with the situation in Gaza.”

That plan would help moderates, forced out of Gaza last summer by Hamas terrorists, reassert authority in the territory. The absence of a moderate presence in Gaza is a major obstacle to the Bush administration’s efforts to seal a peace deal by the end of this year.

Israel blames Egypt for allowing Hamas and allies to smuggle weapons into Gaza.

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